Once a month
(with the exception of January or horrid weather events or family commitments)
I take my glass
to a fun outdoor market that is held on the banks of the
Yarra River in Warrandyte, Melbourne.
The area was originally occupied by one or more clans of the Wurundjeri,
who spoke variations of the Woiwurrung language group.
ever watchful creator of the world” named Bunjil,
who “once gazed down upon his people from the star Altair and saw their wrong doing.
Awaiting their return, with a mighty crash of thunder,
he hurled down a star to destroy them”.
Where the star struck created a gorge in which much of the town today is located.
Bunjil’s people remembered the spot, and referred to it as Warrandyte (speculated to mean “that which is thrown”).
Warrandyte was an important place to them as the
geology formed a natural gorge which inspired many of the
They managed the land sustainably for tens of thousands of years.
(Fascinatingly, it is believed that the whole of Port Philip Bay was only waterlogged during the last ice age and that the Wurundjeri ... people enjoyed plentiful crops on the banks of all the converging rivers.)
One example of this can be found in the tradition whereby neighbouring clans
agreed to cease fishing in the Yarra River once fish populations became low;
this gave the fish the opportunity to repopulate the area and
prevented the human-induced extinction of any species.
This principle was also applied to hunting and gathering on land and the use of trees.
The first European eyes to appreciate the pristine beauty of the meandering waterway was Charles Grimes,
Acting Surveyor General of New South Wales.
During his exploration in 1803 he named it ‘Freshwater River’.
He declared it to be the “the most eligible place for a settlement that I have seen”,
although he also noted flood debris as high as 13 metres above river level.
The name ‘Yarra’ is attributed to surveyor John Wedge, who in the ‘Rebecca’ accompanied
John Batman on the 1835 party of exploration on behalf of the Launceston-based Port Phillip Association.
Wedge asked local aborigines what they called the cascading waters on the lower section of the river.
They replied ‘Yarro Yarro’, meaning ‘it flows’.
Wedge’s mishearing of the word determined its enduring name.
On the banks of the Yarra on 8 June, 1835
John Batman enacted his now infamous purchase of 600,000 acres of land with a group of local aborigines.
Three months later, George Evans in the ‘Enterprize’ made landfall on the Yarra on 30 August, 1835,
near the site of the present day Immigration Museum in Flinders Street. He constructed huts on the south bank.
In 1851, gold was first discovered in Victoria in Warrandyte at Anderson’s Creek by Louis Michel,
the approximate location of the site is marked by a cairn on Fourth Hill in the Warrandyte State Park.
This marked the start of the Victorian gold rush,
however more substantial discoveries in the
Now Warrandyte is a bustling suburb, beautiful, treed and full of interesting shops and restaurants.
Here is a picture of the city of Melbourne taken recently from The Yarra River.
It is true that we see kookaburras whilst at the monthly
Warrandyte Market, occasionally we have seen a platypus and
when you live around here, you see Sulphur Crested Cockatoos daily.
Maybe you’ll visit us one day – you’ll be very welcome!
See you at Warrandyte 🙂